Iraq’s parliamentary election continues to take twists and turns. After a cabinet committee reported on its investigation, Prime Minister Haidar Abadi stated that there were serious violations. The committee suggested there be a manual recount of 5% of the votes, and the cancellation of foreign and displaced voting. It also blamed the Election Commission for the problems, prompting the premier to ban all travel by its members. The Election Commission has been attacked because it stood by the results, and didn’t seem to quickly respond to all the complaints. The cabinet committee and Abadi’s comments implied that the Commission was involved in the irregularities as well.
Parliament took further action against the results as well. It voted to amend the election law, cancel the voting by displaced in Anbar, Diyala, Salahaddin and Ninewa, and conduct a recount. The Election Commission is also to be replaced by nine judges. The president must ratify this action, which could take up to two weeks. The parties that attended the session included Abadi’s Nasr, Vice President Nuri al-Maliki’s State of Law, Sunni parties, the Kurdish opposition, and the Arab Coalition and Turkmen Front from Kirkuk. What these lists all have in common was that they did poorly in the vote. Some parliamentarians also lost and were hoping that a recount would allow them to maintain their seats. There has been convincing evidence of cheating in places like Sulaymaniya and Kirkuk. However, this move in parliament and previous ones seemed to be led by resentment over the outcome more than cheating. A recount is unlikely to dramatically change the results, especially because all the major lists finished with around the same number of seats. Therefore, the only real motivation of these actions is to further undermine the election process. Iraq is a developing democracy, and this election and the 2010 one show that the elite still believe they can manipulate the system to their will, especially when they don’t like the results.
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